Opening Address to the ILO-MOLISA Seminar on Labour Protection to Informal Economy Workers

by Mr Raghwan, Specialist in Workers Activities of ILO Sub-Regional Office for East Asia

Statement | Bangkok | 01 July 2005

Honorable Khun Sorraat Klinprathum- Minister of Labour, Officials of the Ministry of Labour, Participants, Invited guests and colleagues from the ILO.

On behalf of the ILO let me join the Ministry of Labour and welcome you all to this important seminar.

Also it is a pleasure for me to speak at the opening of this event.

The plight of the workers in the informal economy is of much importance to the ILO. About 70% of the workers in are in the informal economy. This is according to the National Statistics Department. These are what we consider as a vulnerable group of workers. In most cases they are deprived of their basic labour rights. They are denied their right to decent work.

As promoted by the ILO decent work is about the enforcement of the core labour rights; it is about the right to employment and income earning; it is about the right to social protection. And it is about the right to form association and the right to bargain collectively.

As a means to provide protection to this group of workers the ILO works with many governments to expand provisions of labour protection to workers in the informal economy. The ILO project on informal economy that is implemented in , and is another attempt to support the project partners to help them extend protection to these workers.

We are very glad to recognize that is one of a few countries which have made several efforts to provide protection to these labours. They have been working in this regard since 1997. While we think that there is still much room available for the improvement of the regulation to provide better protection to workers; the two Ministerial Regulations developed to provide protection to home-workers and agricultural workers are considered to be steps taken in the right direction. Both the ministerial regulations are now in effect. However it is important that they are enforced. This is one of the reasons for us to get together here today. We are here to consider ways and means of enforcing the regulations. This is a challenge for the labour officers as well as the workers and employers engaged in agriculture and also to those home-workers.

On behalf of the ILO, I would like to express our sincere support to your important work. We are certain that your efforts will benefit home-workers and agricultural workers. They had been neglected in the past.

ILO is honored to co-host this seminar. This marks a very important step of the Thai government to extend labour protection to workers in the informal economy. We are glad to be part of this event. I ensure you of ILO support in the future and we would like to follow up on this seminar.

I wish this seminar a success. I would like to wish you all the best in the challenging work ahead in your efforts to protect those workers. Thank you.